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  CBS    The Early Show    News/Business.   
   (2011) New. (CC) (Stereo)  

    March 12, 2011
    8:00 - 10:00am EST  

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disaster in japan. a massive military relief and recovery operation is under way in japan this morning, after that 8.9 magnitude earthquake that devastated the island. an explosion at a nuclear power plant has raised fears of a meltdown. hundreds are dead, and that number will most certainly rise. we have full coverage "early" this saturday morning, march 12th, 2011. captioning funded by cbs video from less than 30
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hours ago in japan, devastating earthquake, 8.9 magnitude. at this hour the official death toll almost 600. and there are other big problems looming this morning. welcome to "the early show" on this saturday morning, i'm russ mitchell. >> and i'm rebecca jarvis. we will continue to follow this story as it develops throughout the morning. >> let's get right to the earthquake in japan of course. the quake is the fifth largest in recorded history. it was followed by a 23-foot high tsunami. the official death count is 574 dead. the number expected to rise considerably. almost 600 are still missing. there have been more than 125 aftershocks since the quake. now this quake was 1,000 times more powerful than last year's haiti quake. there have been 119 quakes in fact, near japan since march 9th. thousands of homes and businesses in japan are destroyed, displacing thousands of people. but this morning, there is a new and potentially more dangerous problem. cbs news correspondent lucy craft is in our tokyo bureau with the latest. lucy good evening to you.
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>> good evening. you know japan survived friday's epic quake only to confront a new nightmare. one of the country's nuclear power plants apparently headed for a meltdown. the plant's operator is working against the clock to try to head off a massive radiation leak. as aftershocks and tsunamis begin to loosen their grip japan is digging itself out of the rubble and wreckage. the worst scenes of death and massive destruction are in northeastern japan. it's been a lot of horrible damage up to this point, says this retiree. i have to wonder what will happen and only hope that there aren't any more quakes. while the immediate danger is passed, transportation communication, and utilities have yet to be repaired in the worst-hit areas. this taxi driver says for the time being, i just want them to work on restoring services. for instance i don't have any water. just stocking up on the basics and what is normally a land of plenty can be an ordeal. all the shops are closed this is one of the few still open, says this senior citizen.
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meanwhile, rescue efforts continue. searching for survivors, and 9 many who perished, mainly in the massive wave. right now, of greatest national concern is the fate of the touch shima number one nuclear power plant which anti-nuclear critics say could be another three mile island. the plant's operator has very little time to try to contain the gas damage which was triggered by the tsunami. >> lucy we're going to have more on that just a bit. i heard you last night tell katie couric that you were concerned about your son who lives in the sendai area of japan near the epicenter. you hadn't heard from him since the quake. it's been about 13 hours since that conversation. have you talked to him? >> i'm thrilled to be able to tell you that we suddenly got a phone call from him this morning just before the batteries on his cell phone ran out. he said he was fine and then afterwards i had a little text message that just said mom, i'm fine, stop worrying. so, i was thrilled. >> all right. lucy craft we're happy to hear
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that. thanks a lot. we'll talk to you later. now here's rebecca. >> thank you, russ. the explosion at the fukushima reactor has triggered fears of a nuclear meltdown. with officials declaring states of emergency at five nuclear reactors, cbs news correspondent nancy cordes is live from washington with more. good morning nancy. and it really sounds like in this situation, we are working against the clock. what is the latest about the nuclear reactor? >> well a few hours ago, rebecca, we saw some very troubling video of an explosion outside the reactor t ave to do a controlled release of some radiation steam just to lower the pressure there. and then this morning we see that explosion. now, nuclear experts say that is not necessarily an indication that there has been a full
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meltdown at this plant. if the pressure vessel around the nuclear core has held then that kind of crisis would be averted. but as you can imagine, information from that plant, information from that entire area is very spotty so we don't exactly know what has occurred. we have been told however, that there is a possibility that several plant workers there have been injured. >> it really sounds like nancy, that this explosion and its magnitude really depends on where it occurred on site at the nuclear plant. >> exactly. and what's really perplexing two nuclear experts, is why this is happening in the first place. you know reactors are built and designed to withstand the kinds of seismic activity that occurs where they're located. so these reactors in japan are built to withstand tremendous earthquakes. they've got backup systems to the backup systems. if the electrical grids fail then they go to diesel generators. if the diesel generators fail then they go to battery packs.
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so it's really a mystery right now why none of those systems seem to be working properly. >> all of these backup systems have been failing. and there is this release of radiation in the air. nancy, what's the takeaway here? how direct of an impact will that radiation have on individuals, if they can keep it contained at these levels? >> well the evacuation zone has been widened twice now around this reactor. first it was only two miles, then yesterday they moved it to six miles. and now we just heard the prime minister a short time ago say that the evacuation zone has been widened to 20 miles. what plant officials were saying yesterday was that if they have to do a controlled release of radioactive steam, that it would all be headed towards the ocean, because that's where the winds were headed. and that it wouldn't be a cause for concern for anyone. but i think, in this situation, it's still so early. we still don't know how much radiation, if any, has really gotten out there into the community. it's just too soon to say whether this is a danger or not. >> nancy cordes, we appreciate
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your reporting on the matter. have a nice day. >> sure thing. danny udi of louisiana was working at the fukushima number one plant when the earthquake struck and since the quake his wife has only heard from him twice. and his location has been moved. jenny udi, his wife joins us by phone from pineville, louisiana. good morning, jamie. i am certain that you must be feeling very nervous having only heard from your husband as of last night at 11:30. >> yes, that's right. it's a very scary thing that knowing. that's the whole thing just sitting, waiting and not knowing. >> what has he told you so far about his surroundings and the situation on the ground there? >> well the last conversation was so sketchy, the phone was going in and
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phones went out. i did ask -- and that's all the information i got from him before the phones went dead. and i've just been sitting here waiting ever since. so i don't know you know that any -- anything to get into for coverage or any -- anything else. it's just sit, wait. i don't know if they ever got any supplies. so back, here we go again. sitting there waiting, till maybe somebody can get to them and get them out and they've been out there so long just in the elements i'm worried about maybe too much exposure on him. and now with this new worry, it's been worry after worry. every time you turn around with this new upcoming with a nuclear
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meltdown and they lost some of the radioactive air that they -- >> jenny, since your conversation with your husband last night at 11:30, there has since been an explosion at one of the plants. did your husband, when you spoke to him last night, did he seem scared? >> i couldn't really tell. it was so fast. and the main thing is hearing his voice. and i knew he was alive. that was my biggest thing. that he was okay. that he could hear, i know he's alive. and i didn't get to ask any questions. i'm hoping if he can get to a phone, i can ask him a little more what's going on. just wanting to -- somebody can get to him and get him out. >> did he tell you how he got away from the plant? was it by transport publicly or was it by car? how is he traveling? >> from what i understand it was a car. i don't know how they got a car.
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i don't know all those answers right now. >> and how far away at this point, is your sense that he is from those nuclear reactors? >> not that good with the mileage there. i know it's the next on the map that i've got, it's the next town from the plant. fukushima. still pretty close, maybe approximately 25 to 30 miles from the plant that's got the problem right now. >> jamie, we appreciate you joining us. our best wishes are with you and your husband. >> thank you so much. >> now back to russ. >> okay. thank you, rebecca. the u.s. has pledged to help japan any way it can. cbs news correspondent whit johnson is at the white house with that part of the story. hey, whit, good morning. >> russ good morning to you. well of course this nuclear power plant are among the top concerns for the white house here. president obama has been in direct contact with japan's prime minister. the u.s. department of energy has been in contact with their
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japanese counterparts. and the u.s. government really is sparing no resources for a country the president calls one of our strongest and closest allies. >> -- potentially catastrophic disaster, and the images of destruction and flooding coming out of japan are simply heartbreaking. >> reporter: president obama declared a firm u.s. commitment to japan's ongoing recovery. the white house is monitoring each development on a tragedy that, for the president, hits close to home. >> i have such a close, personal friendship and connection to the japanese people in part because i grew up in hawaii where i was very familiar with japanese culture. >> reporter: the u.s. military effort includes at least six navy ships steaming towards japan. they're deploying from the western pacific, as far away as malaysia and singapore, wheres "uss blue ridge" loaded relief supplies ahead of its voyage. during a surprise visit to bahrain, defense secretary robert gates announced all u.s. military facilities survived the devastation.
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>> very sophisticated country, but this is a huge disaster and we will do all anything we're asked to do to help out. >> reporter: beyond immediate needs for water, food shelter and medical supplies u.s. aid has deployed disaster response teams, search and rescue crews, rescue dogs and ee equipment. >> our efforts are literally 24/7 to make sure we assist any and all u.s. citizens, and are supporting the japanese government. >> reporter: and the state department reports no americans in japan were killed or injured. they did have to move the state department's command center in tokyo to a different location as a precaution. russ? >> whit johnson at the white house. thanks a lot. rebecca? >> thanks russ. this earthquake is one of the worst disasters in japan's history. what made it so powerful? and how does it compare to other recent quakes? joining me now with some answers is dr. marsha mcnut, director of the u.s. geological survey.
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good to have you with us. >> thank you rebecca, for inviting me to talk to dow. >> this situation, as it stands is very -- of a very high magnitude. an 8.9 earthquake. put that into perspective. >> well, if we cononly harness the energy from this earthquake it would power a city the size of los angeles for an entire year. >> an entire year of power? >> yes. >> and something like this what does it create in terms of the aftermath? and the aftershocks that take place. >> well that's the unnerving part of it. is that it's not just not just the five minutes of shaking from this earthquake but it keeps going on and on and on in terms of disrupting the lives of not only the citizens, but the relief workers. there's something called amours law which governs the aftershocks, that there's aftershocks on day one. and half as many aftershocks on
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day two. and one-third as many aftershocks on day three. and it keeps going on for literally years afterwards. disruptding the lives. the largest aftershocks from an 8.9 earthquake will be a 7.8 earthquake. which in and of itself is a large tremor. >> so we could see a very large tremor in the aftermath. given what you say about amore's law and the continuation and what you see going forward, what are we in for in this case? >> well the aftershocks themselves could bring down buildings that have already been stressed by the main shock itself. and they will hamper the efforts of the relief workers. >> how long could this last? >> well as i say, it will taper off in time but it could go on for years. >> it could go on for years. what does science tell us right now about our ability to foresee something like this coming? >> well science tells us that
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it's very difficult to predict earthquakes. but, of course this earthquake was preceded by foreshocks. and we are trying to install something called the advanced national seismic system. which can give an advanced warning of an event like this which would allow safe shutdown of systems, electrical systems, gas systems, which can lessen the impact of an event just like this >> given what you're saying about conditions and the fact that this could continue to be an issue, what are conditions like on the ground? and what should people in japan be thinking and doing right now? >> well, of course everyone at the u.s. geological survey sends their thoughts and prayers to the people in japan. i've heard a lot of good ideas, for example, going to peoplefinder on google to put the names in of people they want to find. but, basically don't hamper the
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efforts of the relief workers. stay out of the way for those who are trying to help. basically, to send money. don't try to send things. those are the important things that you can be doing. >> in the event of an earthquake, where is the safest place for you to be? >> be under something sturdy like a desk or a table. be away from windows. be away from doors. don't run outside. get under something strong and hold on for dear life. >> dr. marsha mcnutt you'll be with us later in the program to continue this conversation and whether or not it's something that could happen here in the united states. we appreciate it. >> thank you, rebecca. and now for a look at the rest of this morning's headlines we turn to cbs news correspondent and "morning news" anchor betty nguyen at the news desk. >> good morning. thank you, rebecca. good morning to you at home. at least 13 people are dead when a tour bus slammed into a sign post on a new york city highway this morning.
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as you see in this live picture right now, the bus was cut almost in half. at least five people are injured. about 31 were on board. the destination of the bus, or its point of origin has not been determined at this hour. we'll continue to follow this story for you. in other news it is now up to a court to decide whether there will be an nfl season this year. after months of fruitless negotiations talks between the national football league and the players' union collapsed last night, as the owners imposed a lockout. cbs news correspondent dave crowley reports. >> reporter: fans could be in for a disappointing pro football season, or none at all. negotiations between the nfl and the players' union broke off just hours before the latest contract extension expired. setting the stage for a potentially lengthy court battle. >> at this time significant differences can continue to remain. >> reporter: with those differences unresolved the players then decertified their union, dissolving it and several players, including mvp
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tom brady, quickly filed an antitrust lawsuit against the league trying to prevent owners from locking the players out. but the league went ahead and locked the players out anyway. in the midpoint. >> we did offer them some economic concessions. they rejected it out of hand. basically said that's not enough. >> the decertification of the union, lockout and lawsuit series is a slow motion replay of the bargaining pattern of 1989, which resulted in the union getting a new contract and again starting to represent the players four years later. the last time the nfl had a work stoppage was back in 1987 when the players went on strike for 24 days cutting the season to 15 games. dave brownlee, cbs news, new york. the latest news about wounded arizona congresswoman gabrielle giffords is very encouraging.
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doctors have given their first official update on her condition since late january. cbs news correspondent don teague reports. >> reporter: just over two months after the assassination attempt that almost took her life gabrielle giffords' remarkable recovery is gaining momentum. >> i'm very happy to report that she is making leaps and bounds in terms of neurological recovery. >> reporter: doctors friday provided the first official update on giffords' condition since she was admitted to a houston rehabilitation center in january. >> she is doing spectacularly well. her speech is getting very good. she is starting to walk with assistance. and if you remember, from where we were just six weeks ago, this is a tremendous amount of progress. >> reporter: not only can giffords now walk and talk but doctors say there's a good possibility she'll be able to travel to florida next month to watch her husband, astronaut mark kelly's, space shuttle launch. giffords' memory appears to be
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intact. doctors say she can even remember her childhood. but she does not remember the january 8th shooting rampage that killed six, and wounded her and 12 others. >> she has been told and both by her husband, and by us and i think she understands, you know and obviously she needs to know. >> reporter: the next step for doctors, reattaching part of giffords' skull that was removed to alleviate brain swelling. that could happen within weeks. as gibb regiffords' near-miraculous healing charges on. don teague, cbs news, dallas. arab foreign ministers are its european allies are also considering military action against gadhafi. and finally, the trouble plagued broadway musical
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"spider-man: turn off the dark" is going dark at least temporarily. producers say the $65 million production will be shut down for three weeks for an overhaul. preview performances will be canceled from april 19th to may 11th. after six delays the show's new opening date is now set for january 14th. those are the headlines. it's about 21 minutes after the hour. here's russ and rebecca. >> thank you betty. despite all those problems the show is sold out every night. >> you get buzz you get
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>> all right, over to you guys. >> lonnie thank you very much. >> coming up we'll speak to an american in tokyo who just picked up his two youngsters from school when the quake hit. >> and later the science behind how earthquakes happen and why is japan at such a high risk for
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this these deadly natu
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more video from japan yesterday right after the earthquake hit. you can imagine the panic that must have gone through tokyo, north of tokyo, sendai the epicenter of the earthquake and that tsunami. these cars it looks like something, seriously, out of a disaster movie. but it is of course no movie. coming up we're going to talk about the science behind earthquakes. a seismologist at columbia university will tell us what exactly causes the earth to move like that. >> plus we're going to talk about why that particular area of the world is at such a high risk for quakes. it's in what's known as the ring of fire. the building codes there, well they may have actually saved thousands of lives there. accustomed to this type of thing occurring in that part of the world, and as a result they are more prepared for it than really anywhere else. >> building codes there the most strict in the world. you can see the video of the skyscrapers moving back and forth. there's a reason for that. all coming up in just a bit.
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good morning, it's saturday march 12th, i'm gigi barnett. the devastation in japan hits close to home for marylanders with family and friends in that region. local japanese americans are still waiting to talk to loved ones caught in yesterday's earthquake and tsunami. japanese emergency crews are yet to reach the most damaged areas and power and phone lines are down over much of that nation. back here in maryland the rain has passed, but there are still big flooding concerns. the dam on the susquehanna river rose above flood stage just after midnight. at last check 23 floodgates were open this morning.
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the dam is operating under spill conditions. the waters are expected to recede as the morning moves on. the terps can put their dancing shoes away until next year. the men's basketball team could not get past duke blue devils in the acc tournament. the defending national champions got a big boost from kyle singler, who led all points: a nice day ahead. a look at today's exclusive forecast, 60 degrees, partly sunny. don't forget to spring forward everybody. that's
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welcome to "the early show." you are looking at footage from yesterday, the quake, the earthquake that rocked japan. we are continuing coverage today, as the aftershocks continue to wreak havoc on the country and the nuclear reactor is in question whether or not there will be a meltdown there. i'm rebecca jarvis. >> and i'm russ mitchell. one day after japan's most earthquake on record most of the island's buildings are still standing. we'll tell you how the strict building codes may have saved thousands of lives. they are very strict. >> also coming up the science behind how earthquakes happen and why japan is at such a high risk for these deadly natural disasters. >> but first up let's get right
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to cbs news correspondent lucy craft, who is live in tokyo. lucy, let me ask you, first of all, about 600 people are still unaccounted for. how are rescue efforts going this morning? this evening in your case? >> well rescue teams have come in from over 50 countries. obviously fanning out to the worst-hit areas. again we're talking about the states of miyagi iwate, other parts of northern japan, northeastern as well as northwestern. they're still beginning this effort. still looking for survivors. probably a lot of people who were crushed under their homes, who were swept away in the mud. there's going to be a lot of victims, unfortunately, left to be found. >> talking about the explosion at the fukushima nuclear power plant. how concerned are people there, as we speak? >> well people are very concerned. the anti-nuclear lobby is saying that this could end up to be something between a three mile island and a chernobyl. the government is saying hold
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on, let's try to stay calm about this. we're going about this in a very sensible way. we do have a good chance of containing any potential radiation leaks. and so you have this sort of tug-of-war going on between people are saying this is a perfect example of why an earthquake-prone country like japan should not have nuclear power. and the government of course very heavily invested in nuclear power, provides about a third of this tiny country's energy. and they're very dependent upon it. so they're trying to say, please calm down we've got the situation under control. >> you see the prime minister you see other folks in the government coming on television and telling people hey, look we've got this under control, we're trying to take care of this? >> yes. the operators of the power plant has been tepco, tokyo electric power company has been issuing a lot of statements. government spokesmen have been making a lot of statements. the prime minister has visited the area around the power plant. you see a very intensive effort being made by the government
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again, because japan would screech to a halt if it abandoned nuclear power. it really doesn't have any other alternatives to reasonably-priced power. >> okay. lucy craft, live in tokyo. we'll see you later in the broadcast. thank you. and joining us from tokyo is tom byer he was at home with his two young sons when the earthquake hit. tom, good evening to you. >> hi. how you doing? >> i am doing okay. we spoke to you yesterday right after the earthquake hit. as we speak right now what are the conditions where you are? >> well you know everything is in -- i mean everything is calm here inside tokyo. i mean as in there's no real damage or anything. everybody's just trying to get back to normal here. but the problem is is that everybody's very anxious because we're not really getting any good information from the media or the government. >> you were at home with your wife and your two young sons as we can hear in the background there. describe what was going through your mind when this earthquake hit.
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>> sure. well, like i've heard a lot of other people say quite similarly, we live with these earthquakes, you know i've been here 25 years. and i was fortunate to be home with the family. and then it just started to hit and it just went on forever. and as much as you try to prepare for this you really do go into the panic mode just trying to think of what to do. in my case i've got two small boys, 5 and 2 years old, so the priority was to make sure that these little guys were safe. >> how concerned were you that this was going to be -- the end for all of you? >> i really did think it. i thought there was a possibility of possibly you know, the house collapsing or just some major destruction, because it just was not letting down just getting worse and worse and worse and it was just so long. and i've just you know in 25 years i've never been to an earthquake quite like this one. >> at what point did you realize everything's going to be okay at least for your family? >> well i'll tell you, it took
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a long time. i mean, because after the -- that original first earthquake a little bit before 3:00 the aftershocks just consistently came for hours afterwards. just hours. so we're just very confidently ready to go into the, you know, kind of hiding places so to speak, because it was just so bad. >> how would you describe those aftershocks? pretty intense? >> very intense. very intense. just -- i mean almost the starting of what you would think is again, that similar earthquake that we had earlier, a little bit before 3:00 the main one. i mean they were intense. i mean usually the aftershocks come and they're quite small. but these were quite violent aftershocks. i just couldn't believe it. there was really no stop and start. there was a point where i think those aftershocks went all the way virtually almost until the morning the next day. >> and right now things are fairly calm? >> we haven't had any
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aftershocks at all. the only problem right now is that everybody is in major panic about the nuclear reactors. >> i was going to ask you about that. that's not close to you, about 170 miles away is that correct? >> yeah. i mean -- >> still you're concerned. >> yeah but for us that's close enough, because one other thing, you know when this happened yesterday, you were kind of broken into either one or two groups. people who were outside work away from the home or you were in your home. i happened to be in my home. so i was kind of like lockdown. i was telling someone today, it was kind of similar to what happened on 9/11 where, you know you're at home you're at lockdown. you're just glued to the television set. you're just dialing and looking for information. you know of what's going to happen. but today, i went and i drove around you know a little bit through tokyo. so visually there's nothing. there's no damage. you can't see anything. but, you can see long lines at the gas station, and when you go in to most of the food stores at
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the 7-eleven a quarter or half of the shelves are cleared out. >> tom, listen thank you so much. we're glad you and your family are safe. and again, new york sends a big hello. you take care. >> okay. thanks a lot, guys. bye-bye. >> it is coming up on 37 minutes past the hour. let's go to lonnie quinn with another check of the weather. >> good morning to you, russ. good morning everybody. my weather headlines for you, stocking up like this. blowing snow today from minnesota. we're looking at maybe 3 to 6 inches. the winds are going to be strong. still have tsunami concerns on the west coast. yesterday they were warnings. today they're downgraded now to advisories, but it's still a possibility out there. and no rain for the northeast. and that is such a good thing. the last thing that the northeast needs, more rain. there's the storm, it's pushing out of the area. but since there's a lag effect after getting all that rain to when the rivers will crest, we still have flood warnings. look at them all for the northeast. we're talking about some of the rivers not cresting until much later today. if not the wee hours of sunday morning. so just be prepared for that.
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some of you have to deal with a worse situation before it gets better as we push through the weekend. we have about five days of some dry weather for you. >> all right, everybody, make it a great day wherever you are. this does fall in the weatherman's department. it is daylight savings time. it begins 2:00 a.m. sunday morning. what i'm saying is you go to bed tonight you do not forget to spring shows clocks forward by one hour and you will be right on schedule. >> lonnie thanks for keeping us on time. coming up next we have seen what happened in japan. we are going to take a look at why it happened. the science behind earthquakes, after this. right here on "the early show" on cbs.
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destruction out of japan make it all too clear just what happened on friday. but why did it happen? for a look at the science behind earthquakes, we're joined by james garity seismologist and lemont associate research professor at columbia university. great to have you with us. >> my pleasure. >> people are looking at this in the most basic terms right now. how did something like this happen? >> most earthquakes occur on the boundaries of the very large tectonic plates that make up the outer ridged crust of the earth. so these plates are all shifting around relative to each other, in many places moving fairly rapidly, inches per year relative to each other and they push against each other some places going underneath, other places rubbing past each other. so the western part of the pacific ocean, for example, the ring of fire that we talk about, that all takes place on these tectonic boundaries. that's where we get these earthquakes. >> these red lines show you where the major fault lines occur? >> that's right. >> when the plates do move against each other, and in this place when they did, what
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specifically happens? >> so in this part of japan, basically the pacific plate is trying to move underneath the earth's crust where japan sits on the north measure asian plates. it's moving down underneath. constantly building up pressure as it tries to move underneath and in this case it releases that pressure and these very large earthquakes that occur in a very large area along the entire length of the coastline of japan here. >> by large area you see in that graphic, 200 miles, 100 miles. >> that's right. on the order of 200 miles along the length and 100 miles offshore all sliding on one large fault at the same time. >> is there a pattern that you can look to here that develops over time? >> absolutely. these kinds of events are very well-understood in japan. the fact that they have large events on the order of magnitude 8 is something they've had many times over their history. this one is a little bit unusual in that we're not necessarily expecting something quite as large as this. these mega quakes more like a magnitude 9 are very rare even over geologic history looking
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back. we have a hard time finding evidence of them. we observed now three really in the last six years, since sumatra. so we seem to be in a period of very active occurrence of these. but it's how these really big quakes develop is something that we're really trying to understand. >> is there a sense, you say we've been in this active period. is there a sense for why it's such an active period? >> it's probably just random statistics that we had a period prior to this there were events in 1960 1964, that are about this magnitude. but then there was kind of a quiet period of about 40 years. we've now entered a period where this kind of activity has picked up again. >> let's talk about the ring of fire where this activity is most common and tends to be situated. what is it about this portion of the universe that makes it so active for earthquakes? >> so it's really really comes back to those tectonic plates and how they're moving relative to each other. the pacific plate happens to be a large, coherent plate that's moving at a fairly high velocity relative to the other plates around it. so it's continually interacting
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with it. on the western side of that system in japan, the aleutians, it's pushing underneath. those are the kind of earthquakes that tend to be the largest, and also tend to be the kind of earthquakes that are pushing, moving material up and down that cause tsunamis. that's one of the reasons why it's such a destructive part of the system. >> the western edge is a destructive part of the system. >> that's right. >> you mention the tsunamis. of course we've seen the impact of tsunamis already on japan. do we have indication of what could be the future impact of tsunamis as a result of this earthquake? >> so there are going to continue to be large aftershocks of this earthquake. we would expect for typically a rule of thumb, for the largest aftershock after a big earthquake like this it's about one magnitude unit smaller. so a magnitude 8 earthquake can still cause a significant tsunami. certainly not of the devastating level of this one. but still something to keep an eye on. these things propagate out very efficiently from the earthquake so they can -- the energy travels very efficiently in the water, and so we do tend to see these spread out over the entire basin of the pacific, and they can affect regions very far from
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the event. >> so the point that you're making is this could happen really very far from the site of the earthquake? the tsunami could occur very far from the earthquake? >> that's right. the propagation of that energy through the water columns could carry that energy to very long distances. usually needs to be focused very close to wherever the harbor is or something. >> or destruction. >> but you still have to be very cautious. >> professor garrity, thank you for breaking it all down for us this morning. >> my pleasure. >> comining up next despite being hit with a massive earthquake japan's buildings are still standing. we're going to tell how the safety of those structures may have saved thousands of lives. you're watching "the early show" on cbs. parentheses have a place. but not on your face. juvéderm® xc is the gel filler your doctor uses to instantly smooth out lines right here. temporary side effects include redness, pain, firmness, swelling bumps, or risk of infection. ask your doctor about juvéderm® xc. [ female announcer ] all you need for sensitive skin. all you expect from the number-one recommended detergent
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friday's earthquake in japan was the world's fivest most powerful quake since 1900. but this morning most of the island's buildings are still standing suffering only minimal damage. here to explain why, structural engineer who designed cutting-edge commercial towers hotels sports stadiums and museums around the world. bill, good morning to you. >> good morning. >> we talked about this we just heard the professor talk about the so-called ring of fire.
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from your point of view from an engineer's point of view, how tough a part of the world is this to do business in? >> well it's a very active seismic center. one of the most active in the world. so it presents real challenges. particularly, to design major building structures. >> we talk about the building codes in japan being some of the most strict building codes in the world. is that an accurate statement? >> yeah absolutely. japanese building codes are very comparable to american codes. they bring together the best knowledge in the world to date on how to resist seismic events. and i think you've seen that in the behavior of the buildings in tokyo. >> the buildings are literally swaying. they're designed to do this correct? >> they're supposed to sway. the basic idea particularly a tall building is it's supposed to act like a tree. a tree in the wind it sways back and forth. and seismic events it's very similar. obviously the ground shaking as opposed to the building being moved back and forth by wind but the same idea. it's supposed to move. >> from your expertise, are you surprised there's not much
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damage in tokyo? >> no. frankly, no. i mean i was spoking to professor earlier, and you know there could be more severe effects in tokyo than we're seeing from this particular quake, because it was at some distance from the city. i mean there are faults that are closer. you could have lesser energy released. but because they're closer they have more impact. >> you brought a model of a building that, in fact, you designed. this is the tower in ho chi minh city you designed. >> it's not so much size to use that term but it's height. in other words, if you have a short building you can maybe imagine that it's pretty stiff. if the ground moves, it moves right along with it. but if you go back to the tree analogy, if you have a tall building, not sure the perspective you're getting, this one at certain angles is very slender so it acts like a tree. it will bend. it will give and it won't break. so that's the nature of taller buildings. they're actually safer. you wouldn't necessarily think that.
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>> how much did this building cost to build? do you recall? >> that's something over $100 million. >> okay, $100 million. because you had to do all these things to it, you had the strict building codes, because you had to make sure it was earthquake proof, how much more did something like that cost? >> in real terms it's not that big a premium. and it's a small percentage. probably in terms of the cost of the overall building maybe 5% 10%. depending on where you are. the percentage will be higher in a place like japan, than say here in new york. >> from a structural standpoint no sky scrapers in haiti, of course, but you have an earthquake in japan 1,000 times more powerful than the earthquake in haiti, and in terms of the structures there, how would you compare the two? >> well the problem in a place like haiti is there's not as much modern building construction. a lot of what's built is relatively stout you know it's both heavy. it's heavy, and it's a little fragile. and it's kind of weak. i mean, that's the nature of
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you know masonry construction which is what is prominent in a lot of places around the world like haiti. unfortunately a lot of it is not modern so doesn't take advantage of what we've learned over the course of our lifetime. >> you say you're not surprised there was not much damage in tokyo. impressed? >> yes, i am. it's very satisfying to see that you can protect life in that way and everything we're trying to do works. >> thank you so much for your expertise. we're coming right back. this is "the early show" on cbs. is an 8.4-inch touch screen that lets you control the stereo volume, radio tuning climate controls, turn-by-turn navigation, and bluetooth activation -- technology inside technology controlling more technology. welcome to the future. now lease the new 2011 dodge journey mainstreet for $299 a month for well-qualified lessees. [ male announcer ] those with frequent heartburn imagine a day free of worry
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temporary shelters. we're going to speak to an official from the japanese red cross about what is being done on the ground to help the nearly 2 million people affected by the disaster. also talk to some more folks who were there yesterday when the earthquake hit. the tsunami. good morning, it's saturday march 12th, i'm gigi barnett. the devastation in japan hits close to home for marylanders with family and friends in that region. local japanese americans are still waiting to talk to loved ones caught in yesterday's earthquake and tsunami. japanese emergency crews are yet to reach the most damaged areas and power and phone lines are down over much of that nation. back here in maryland the rain has passed, but there are still big flooding concerns. the dam on the susquehanna river rose above flood stage just after midnight. at last check 23 floodgates were open this morning. the dam is operating under
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spill conditions. the waters are expected to recede as the morning moves on. the terps can put their dancing shoes away until next year. the men's basketball team could not get past duke blue devils in the acc tournament. the defending national champions got a big boost from kyle singler, who led all points: a nice day ahead. a look at today's exclusive forecast, 60 degrees, partly sunny. don't forget to spring forward everybody. that's our
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the second hour of "the early show" as we look at pictures from about 30 hours ago in japan. the tsunami after the massive 8.9 magnitude earthquake. at this moment about 574 people are dead. almost 600 missing. the search goes on. other problems to deal with this morning, as well. i'm russ mitchell. >> and i'm rebecca jarvis. we are continuing with our quake coverage this morning. and also looking at the travel impact for travelers throughout the world. that's coming up shortly. but right now, northeast japan is grappling with a triple disaster this morning. that's left at least 574 people
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dead, with a higher death toll likely. first came the devastation from friday's massive 8.9 earthquake. that was made worse by a tsunami. and now radiation is leaking from a nuclear power plant. cbs news correspondent lucy craft is in our tokyo bureau. lucy, good evening to you. what is the latest on the search and recovery efforts? >> well we can see the progress and the search and recovery just by turning on any japanese tv set. there's a special way that they frame the information on the right-hand side of the screen. or on one side of the screen they show the total number of people they expect to be either dead or missing. and then on the bottom of the screen they run the names of the people as they're finding them the names of the dead, and they're spelled out, their hometown, how old they are, and it's really personalizes it. it's something that's very japanese. so that if you know somebody you can contact their family et cetera. also, we see a feature of every japanese tv screen right now is a map of the country, showing
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the areas that are still under tsunami watch. and, until yesterday, almost the entire country was ringed in bright red, which shows the highest level of caution towards tsunami. now that has all been downgraded and most of the area is on a very low tsunami watch. >> lucy you were able to reach your son by text message. how are people determining right now in japan whether or not their loved ones are alive and well? >> it's pretty rough, i have to tell you. we found a google site that had been set up for people looking for loved ones. you're just kind of stuck. you just keep calling and calling until you can get through. i was kind of at my wit's end yesterday so i called a local police department, but they were overwhelmed. phone services right now are starting to come back and i guess that's what people mostly are doing, trying to get through by phone or by text skype computer if that's possible. we're still just gradually getting full restoration of infrastructure right now.
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>> certainly a situation that continues to develop. lucy craft in tokyo, thank you. we will check back in with you later in the program. and now here's russ. >> thank you very much rebecca. we want to go now to cbs news correspondent celia hatton who is live from the town of fukushima near the nuclear nuclear reactor, where an explosion took place at one of the reactors just a few hours ago. workers released what they say was a small bit of radioactive steam to release pressure on the containers housing the overheating reactor. japanese government spokesmen say the outer shell of the reactor is damaged, but the inner container is intact. so they're insisting that there's no real danger. though the people that i'm speaking to on the ground are very, very anxious about what's going to happen next. >> as you speak to people there, what are you hearing? wh
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be able to go home shortly. >> i know that they evacuated initially a six-mile area from the nuclear reactor. they have doubled that to 12 miles at this point. i mean, what does that say to you? >> that says to me that the government says they're just trying to play it safe. but that says to me that they are a little bit cautious. they're worried and they want to get people out and evacuated out while they still can, before there really is a serious emergency. i'm at the airport right now, the fukushima airport, and the airport workers have told me they're going to be adding more flights tomorrow. so we're anticipating this scene to be a very chaotic place tomorrow as people scramble to get a small number of plane tickets to be able to get out of this region. >> okay. celia hatton, i c's rebecca.
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>> right now in japan, effective rescue operations are critical to saving lives, and a massive relief effort is under way. over 2 million people live in the area directly impacted by the 8.9 magnitude quake and the 23-foot tsunami that followed. the japanese red cross joins us now via phone to talk about what's being done to help victims of this disaster. thank you for being with us sayaka. >> thank you for having me. >> what is the red cross doing at this point to help the millions of displaced individuals in japan? >> right now we are putting top priority for the medical services. we have mobilized more than 60 medical teams from all over the world. which means like there are more than 450 nurses and doctors
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mobilized from japan. >> 450 nurses and doctors. do you believe that number will suffice? >> well not all of them have arrived in the affected area yet. we are sending them to the miyagi prefecture and fukushima prefecture. and some of them have arrived in the area and started assessment and started the mobile clinics. but unfortunately, because of the phone connection is quite bad, we haven't got all the information yet from them. >> it sounds like then without perfect information, there may still be areas that could be impacted that we don't even know about at this point. is that your sense? >> yes, it could be. affected area is very large, so you have haven't been able to take a whole view. >> what at this point, would you say is your biggest fear?
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>> well still not enough information is coming out, so still people are trying to coordinate, and rench and rescue. the coordination is lots of effort putting in the coordination, and also the logistics challenges that might happen. and we just have to do everything at once and we just don't know how big this operation is going to be. >> it is certainly a very complex scenario with multiple moving parts. people around the world are watching this unfold and wondering what they can do. sayaka what do you recommend those who want to help the situation can do now? >> thank you for the offer. the japanese red cross is coordinating with the international federation of red cross and movement which has its headquarters in geneva.
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and right now, wire not asking for international assistance yet. and also, we are collaborating with the international committee of the red cross, and we have put out the website where you can register yourself and the people inside of japan can register and tell the people you are safe. so it someone option for the people to use that service to find out your friends or family. >> sayaka that website again is familylink.com. >> yes. familylink.com. >> well we really appreciate you being with us thank you so much. good luck with the relief efforts. our thoughts and prayers are with you. >> thank you. thank you very much. >> and now for a look at the west of this morning's headlines, cbs news correspondent and "morning news" anchor betty nguyen is at the news desk. hey, betty. >> hey there, rebecca. good morning everybody.
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a tour bus crashed into a sign pole on a new york highway this morning, killing at least 13 people. some 21 passengers were injured, and about 31 people were on board. from cbs-2 in jork jay dell is live at the scene near the bronx/westchester border. tell us what happened. >> good morning to you betty. the new york city fire department tells us this bus crashed just before 6:00 a.m. in the southbound lanes of i-95. appears to be a one-vehicle accident. as you say, at least 13 fatalities. and several other passengers who were injured. when we pulled up on the scene there were several dozen fire trucks that were already here. we spoke to a chief who tells us that his teams at that moment were still trying to pull people out of the bus. everyone has been rescued from the bus as far as we can tell. traffic still closed in the southbound lanes of i-95. the investigation continues into exactly what happened. back to you. >> all right, jay, thank you for that. in other news president obama says the u.s. and its allies are quote, tightening the
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noose on libyan leader moammar gadhafi. mr. obama is not ruling out possible military action against gadhafi and that includes establishing a no-fly zone. arab leaders are meeting in egypt to discuss what to do about gadhafi who has gained a significant edge over libyan rebels. the national football league is on the verge of its first work stoppage in almost a quarter of a century. nfl owners locked out players after contract talks collapsed just after midnight. ten players are suing the owners requesting an injunction to block the lockout. the biggest contract hurdle is how to divide $9 billion in annual nfl revenue. wildfires are burning in three states at this hour. in oklahoma grassfires have forced evacuations and destroyed at least 49 homes near oklahoma city. nine homes in jack county, texas, have been destroyed in a wildfire that has burned 3,000 acres there. and a wildfire has scorched at least 200 workers in the
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foothills west of boulder, colorado. no injuries have been reported in any of these fires. about ten minutes after the hour. time now for a check of the weather with lonnie quinn. they could use some rain there. >> that's what i want to talk about. talk about those wildfires out west. mother nature is offering up a little bit of help. but, you know betty was saying they could use some rain. it's not rain. but the winds will back down the humidity levels will bump up a little bit. that will make the situation a little bit better. it is freezing in the dakotas. wait till you see the temperatures. and otherwise the big picture for the u.s. 80% of the country pretty calm out there. it's the temperatures, the huge span. hottest spot anywhere dell rio, texas, hitting 84 today. the cold spot belcourt in north dakota drops down to 5 degrees below zero. best weather anywhere anderson south carolina sunshine today, 72 degrees. the big picture is going to show you, all right, we have a snowstorm around the great lakes, maybe 3 to 6 inches of snow. but a lot of wind. then we've got that flooding
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storm that pushed to the northeast. that exits today. other than that there's that beautiful picture i talked about for 80% of the country. >> this weather segment sponsored by sense dineo dine. the tooth paste recommended by nine out of ten dentists to stop the pain of sensitive teeth. >> remember you go to bed tonight, you spring forward with your clocks. russ, over to you. >> thank you so much lonnie. up next we talk to a quake survivor in japan who was in one of tokyo's busiest train stations during rush hour when friday's quake hit. her story in just a moment. you're watching "the early show" on the sensitivity was caused by my brushing
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in one of the busiest train stations during rush hour when the first tremor of friday's earthquake hit, she witnessed what she described as a human stampede. she managed to escape to safety then walked more than ten miles to get in. ines joins us via phone safe and sound from tokyo. good evening to you. how are you? >> good evening. i am doing well safe and sound, as you put it. >> it's been more than 24 hours now since the earthquake hit. when you think about what you went through in the past day, what's the first thing that goes through your mind? >> well to be honest i'm really thankful for the outstanding construction standards in tokyo. if it wasn't for that i'm afraid that things would have been a lot worse. for everyone in japan. actually in tokyo, specifically. so that's number one consideration. >> i see. well let me do this let's go back to yesterday, you're at
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shibu station, one of the busiest stations in tokyo. what did you see? what did you feel? >> first of all, i heard the screams. in fact i think i heard the screams before i actually felt the ground shake and the tremor. i heard the people screaming, then i started feeling literally the floor was moving. it felt like liquid in fact. and then thousands of people were coming in from all directions. they were actually trying to run up the escalators there, in the corridors, coming from so many directions. more than i can really describe. because it is a station where more than 30 different commuter train lines cross. so, the sheer number of people running towards the various exits reminded me of a river going mad. it was absolutely insane. >> i can imagine. you also call it a human stampede. how did you get out of it? >> well it was really i had no choice. i was actually being pushed by the stream of people behind me.
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and everybody was obviously trying to get to the street level. up to the stairs. and escalators. i think i was three or four levels underground when it hit. and then obviously as soon as i got up on the street level i saw that the crowds were already really something else. i mean the number of people i cannot describe. and as soon as i composed myself, more or less and found a place to stand, i took out my camera and tried to film. >> that's really impressive that you did that. given everything that was going on. what was scarier to you, the crowds or the tremors? >> to be honest the thing is the crowds are a fact of life in tokyo, okay? but the japanese are so incredibly well-behaved and they tend to make no noise in public spaces whatsoever. so basically when i heard the screaming, i knew something was terribly wrong. i think i heard the screaming before i saw the ground move and that was actually a sign
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that something bad happened. >> you walked home. >> that is how i remember it. it's really difficult to tell right now. >> ines you walked home? >> i walked home yes. >> how long did it take you? >> to be honest the earthquake hit at a quarter to 3:00 in the afternoon. i arrived home sometime after 11:00 at night. but, it wasn't just the walking, because it was very difficult to walk on the streets because of the traffic, and the congestion, and people were asking for help and they were actually approaching me as well offering help. so there was a lot of communication, interaction with various people from police officers to just you know passersby. so basically that took a long time. and also the phone lines were down. >> yeah. >> so there was no way of knowing which way is the best or the quickest route through tokyo. because i have only been here a three weeks. >> are you going to stay for awhile or go home? >> everybody's telling me it's
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time to head back. but no i'm going to stay away. >> ines we really appreciate you joining us today. we're glad you're safe. you take care of yourself. >> thank you. thank you so much. thank you for having me. >> up next this morning, travel in and out of japan is still at a standstill. we'll tellll you what you need to know, if you or a loved one is trying to get in or out. you're watching "the early show" on cbs. when you realize that depression has left you nowhere to go. when you've lost interest in everything. when you've had one too many days feeling sad or anxious...
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the u.s. state department has issued a travel alert urging u.s. citizens to avoid all nonessential tourism to japan, and while inside japan, hundreds of flights have been canceled stranding thousands of travelers. if you or someone you know is trying to get in or out, our cbs news travel editor peter greenberg is here with what you need to know. peter, thanks for joining us. >> good morning, rebecca. >> inside japan, transportation was brought to a virtual standstill as of the quake yesterday. what is the status now? >> well the tokyo subway system which, of course, handles 8 million passengers a day was disrupted. it's coming back into limited service. some of the lines south of tokyo
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have reopened. in northeastern japan, that's a totally different story. highways and train tracks are flooded. nothing's operating there right now. >> then you have the air travel which has also been disrupted in and out of tokyo, which is a very significant hub for travel around the world. how impacted is international travel overall right now, peter? >> well you said it right. it is a hub. 900 flights were canceled yesterday. that's to europe asia and of course parts of north america. however, airlines are getting back up to speed. the two major airports haneda and narita basically have reopened. they were closed for awhile because they wanted to keep the runways open for emergency flights. but most airlines are resuming their service as of today. to give you an idea yesterday japan airlines canceled 158 flights. in the next 12 hours they canceled 146 flights. as of tomorrow morning they're only canceling 26. so they are going to get back on track. >> how will they, when they are getting back on track, prioritize who goes next? >> they'll honor reservations based on flights you already held. if you were trying to get out
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yesterday or today, you're not going to go for at least 48 to 72 hours, because other people are ahead of you on the flights that are actually scheduled to go today and tomorrow. we're talking about a lag time between 48 and 72 hours. because remember planes are out of sequence. crews are off schedule. they've got to reposition the planes to get there first and the people who get the first priority are the ones who hold reservations on the day they were originally scheduled to fly. >> so it's not really a need-based decision. it is a ticket-based decision. >> for the most part that's true. if you're a frequent flyer or a mega frequent flyer they might help you out. for the most part you're waiting in line to get your status re-established on the day you could possibly get out. that's going to be 48 to 72 hours. >> this is a really interesting tip i read from you. you say to fly westbound before flying eastbound if you're trying to leave. what does that mean? >> you have a better chance of going from tokyo to hong kong to bangkok to taipei and then coming back to the united states, than to try to fly nonstop from tokyo back. just because of the load factors. you have a better chance to do that. you want to be a contrarian
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traveler in that respect and reverse the map. you'll get home faster. >> if you choose not to use a ticket for a future date to japan will you be penalized for it? >> almost every airline has waived the penalty fees the cancellation fees through march 15th so you're in pretty good shape there. you still, of course have to contact the airline to have that status reinstated without having to pay those draconian fees. at least in that respect you're not going to get charged. >> basically you've got about three days to make a decision whether you're going to go or not. and if you choose not to go you need to let them know? >> exactly. >> peter greenberg. we sincerely appreciate it. thanks for joining us. >> you got it. thanks. >> when we come back in our next half hour we will be speaking with a nuclear expert about that explosion at a nuclear plant in fukushima, japan. of course this is something that is really unwinding as we speak right now, russ. will there be a nuclear meltdown? that is the question. >> that is true. yesterday the barometer was six miles that they were evacuating the area six miles from the nuclear reactor site. now they've gone 12 miles,
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they're concerned about possible leaks. but the government is insnsisting that everything is going to be okay. we're going to have the latest for you in just a bit. local news is up next.
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images of japan the day after the 8.9 magnitude earthquake causing a massive tsunami as you see right there. 574 people are now the official death count, almost 600 people still missing. and i think both those tolls are going to rise as we move through the day. welcome back to "the early show," i'm russ mitchell. >> i'm rebecca jarvis. we are back with our continuing coverage of the devastating earthquake in japan. we are going to head right to cbs news correspondent lucy craft, who is live in tokyo with the latest. and lucy describe for us, if you would, what you can see out your window now in tokyo.
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>> well it's night, so not seeing very much. the streets of tokyo with a little bit quieter than they normally are. i think people are still recovering from the shock of friday. yesterday was an extraordinary day for everyone in tokyo, for the first time -- first time experience for most of us. it was a day when we didn't know how we were going to get home. and most people didn't even try to. the city opened its doors, universities concert halls, even city hall opened up their doors, put out spare futons and people slept downtown or slept in their offices. sometimes people tried to trudge home. today, people are kind of shaking off, you know the event, the astonishing events of yesterday. but still not quite on a regular track. the trains are finally running back to normal. tokyo has snapped back pretty much back to the way it normally is. of course the rest of the country has a long way to go. >> lucy is there a sense then
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that as far as the earthquake goes and the aftermath, as far as tsunamis go that that portion of this disaster has passed? >> well actually we're not quite through it yet. we're still feeling aftershocks, believe it or not. this is extraordinary. if you look at a map of japan, as i referred to earlier, on the screen you still see the country, a map of the country ringed in low-level sub ammy warnings. so we're not quite out of the woods yet. but slowly getting there. >> lucy craft, thank you. we appreciate you being with us this morning. >> thank you. >> now here's russ. >> okay rebecca, thank you. today's explosion at a nuclear plant in fukushima, japan, destroyed the building that houses the plajt's reactor, triggering a radiation leak and fears of a nuclear meltdown. so just how dangerous is the situation? joining us by phone from london is the director of public communications for the world nuclear association. ian, good morning to you. >> hi russ. >> let me ask you, just how dangerous is the situation this morning?
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>> well i think it's less dangerous than it was yesterday. the challenge remains to keep the fuel cool in the reactor. particular they that number one unit of the fukushima daiichi plant. as you know eleven reactors shut down automatically when the earthquake hit. and with most of those, the cooling has been reasonably straightforward. because there's been power supply to the plant, either from the grid or from the backup generators. but with the two units, the first two units of the fukushima daiichi plant, the generators cut in and ran for about an hour and then stopped. and we understand the reason they were stopped is because they were overwhelmed by the tsunami. and that precipitated the crisis really and then the challenge of keeping the reactor cool, because they then have to default to their battery power. and as far as i understand it
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that may not have been sufficient to do everything that was fully required. >> ian, let me ask you, earlier there was a six-mile radius for evacuation around the plant. they moved that to is 12 miles now. from what you know of this is that an appropriate thing? >> well it's a very conservative thing. and obviously the authorities are concerned that there might be a fuel meltdown. or there might have been. at least when they ordered the evacuation. i think that that possibility is remote at the best of times, and diminishing by the hour as the fuel gets cooler. and generates less heat. it's now, would be generating only about half a percent of the heat that it was generating at the time that the reactor shut down. but the cooling demand is still great. >> i understand. in general ian, are japanese nuclear plants prepared for these types of quakes? >> oh, yes, definitely. they're all built in the secure
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knowledge that they'll almost certainly have to endure serious earthquakes during their lifetime. and the reactors themselves are built in a very robust way, on solid rock and i think with all the earthquakes that have been in japan i don't think any of the basic reactor structures have ever been dajd. although of course all the services around are liable to be damaged, as three years ago, it took some time to get those plants back. in fact one or two of them still aren't back online because of the damage around them in the main plant area. but not the reactor itself. >> ian, very quickly, we talked to a number of people in japan this morning, some of them as far away as in tokyo, 170 miles away from the nuclear reactor, and they are concerned about what's going on. if you could speak to them what advice would you give to them? >> oh, just sit tight and watch. it's really -- i mean the hydrogen explosion this morning, or a few hours ago, this morning london time, was a surprise.
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but hydrogen is always a factor in any nuclear reactor, but i think that the focus here has been on keeping the things cool and obviously there's a hydrogen buildup somewhere and it blew all the clearing off the top of the building. as you can see from the tv footage. but that was a bit of a diversion. i don't think it's increased the risk of radiation release at all. there is a slight risk of radiation release, but not, i think, of any magnitude. and the -- there is a possibility that some fuel may be damaged. but i think that a meltdown particularly at this stage, some 30 hours after shutdown is most unlikely. >> as you said sit tight. ian, director of public communications for the world nuclear association. we thank you so much for joining us this morning for your insight. >> you're welcome. >> take care. it is now 36 minutes past the hour. let's go to lonnie quinn for a final check of the weather. >> hey, ross good morning,
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everybody. closer to home we still have tsunami advisoryies that are in effect for the west coast. yesterday they were warnings. so they're clearly downgraded but they're still in effect. flooding taking place in the northeast. although, not a drop of rain is exiting the area. the rivers continue to rise and a blizzard is it still possible? you betcha. here's what we see on the west coast. washington state, oregon california, all under that advisory until further notice. we'll keep an eye on that one for you. the blizzard i was hinting at yeah, as of today. around the great lakes grand rapids duluth, watertown. picking up three to six inches of snow. not a lot of available moisture but with winds 35 to 40 miles per hour i'm telling you that's going to blow that snow all around and it's blowing snow that defines a blizzard. i think you will be close to blizzard conditions today. this is what it looks like on your satellite imagery. the big picture shows you, good 80% of the country having a very calm day out there.
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>> all right buddy, i got to remind you, you go to bed tonight, you spring forward with those clocks. daylight savings time begins 2:00 a.m. sunday morning. rebecca, let's get over to you. >> lonnie we appreciate it. coming up next he called it a sustained sense of vertigo. an american quake survivor in tokyo is going to share his story here with us on "the early show" on cbs. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ [
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today. taste it, love it, or it's free. ♪ activia ♪ joining us now via skype from tokyo is matt alt, who has lived there for eight years and was at home when the quake hit. last night he felt several aftershocks. matt, good evening to you. it's already saturday evening in japan. how are you? >> that's right. that's right. it's been a very long day. >> yeah tell me how you're doing today. >> well it's -- people have been trying to get back to normal in tokyo, and actually it was eerily like normal today. it was a very sunny day out. mail was being delivered. trash was being picked up. and out in the suburbs where we are, even the supermarkets had quite a variety of things on the shelves. but, then around midday we started receiving reports of a nuclear reactor having a problem
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up north in fukushima and that kind of colored the recovery efforts to a big degree. >> how concerned are people where you are about that? >> there's a lot of apprehension among people all throughout japan. partially because there hasn't been a lot of information coming out of fukushima explaining what is going on. nobody really knows what's happened up there and what the situation is. >> let me go back to yesterday. where were you when the earthquake hit? >> i was in my house. my wife and i were together and we were working in the house. and when it hit, it hit hard. and we actually stepped outside because we were worried about shelves and books and things falling on us. but we weren't even able to stay on our feet because the shaking underneath our feet was so strong. >> when you're in the middle of something like this give me an idea of what's going through your head? what are you thinking? >> you know your brain just empties out. all you think about is survival. and it's just you're looking around trying to make sure you're not underneath something, that it's not going to fall on you. making sure you're not going to fall down. you're holding onto things. and almost instinctively you crouch down into a ball because
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it really literally feels like a rug is about to be yanked out from underneath your feet. it's a very unsettling feeling. >> once you got outside what did you see? were people panicking? did you see people injured? >> people had actually pedestrians, stopped in the middle of the street and were looking around. which is actually uncommon. because most earthquakes in japan you don't feel them when you're moving around. you could feel this when you were walking and moving was a sign it was a big one. i will never forget is that the buildings all around us were making this eerie creaking sound because they were being shaken by the force of the earthquake. >> i remember seeing you on "the early show" yesterday, and you seemed very calm. and today you seem calm as well. as we said you did feel aftershocks overnight. how concerned are you at this point that there will be another big earthquake? >> well you know the interesting thing is that we've been hearing reports not only from our friends but also seeing on the internet that a lot of people are experiencing what they're describing as vertigo. but it's not really vertigo. because the ground really is moving beneath everybody's feet. so it's very strange sort of
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unsettling feeling that you can't really quite relax because you don't know what's coming around the next corner. >> was this your first earthquake? >> no. i've been through many earthquakes. but this is by far the largest one. because small tremors are very common here in japan. but usually it will be just a quick punch and all of a sudden it will be done with. this time was a rolling, rolling sensation that lasted for a full two minutes or so and it was one of the most terrifying experiences of my life. >> seeing you yesterday morning on "the early show" not long after the earthquake hit i was amazed how clear the communication system was at that point. were you able to reach your family and friends back home? >> yes, i was. well, there was a time difference of course so there were some issues with that. the phones jammed up very quickly. i don't think the phone lines went down but i think basically the entire country was trying to place a call at once. cell lines and land lines were locked. you couldn't get through. but the internet didn't flag even once during the tremors. i could actually see through the window standing outside, the internet was still connected and we never suffered any kind of dropout with that.
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>> you talk about the eerily normal feeling in your part of the world earlier today. as saturday turns into sunday what are you guys doing tonight? >> well, we're just basically sitting around and watching the news. because there's a lot of disturbing developments up north. there's a lot of reports coming in of people still trapped. the current toll of injured, and dead is at 1700. and everybody knows it's going to climb as the rescue efforts go on. so there's certainly no time to kick back and relax at this point. >> you going to stay there, matt? >> absolutely. i'm going to stay here. >> okay. matt alt, thank you so much. we appreciate it. >> thank you. >> take care of. fascinating stories. >> mm-hmm. and just very troubling, too. to think about what happens from here. we're discussing next what could happen here if the same thing that happened in japan occurred here. we'll speak with the experts right after this. right here on "the early show" on cbs. f different kinds of exercise, but basically, i'm a runner.
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happen in california? a state with substantial fault lines running throughout it. dr. mash sha mcnutt, director of the u.s. geological survey rejoins us along with james garrity, seismologist and social research professor at columbia university. great to have both of you back with us. marsha, let's begin with you. this is a very real scenario playing out in japan. what is the likelihood we will see it play out here on u.s. shores? >> well i think that every time an event like this happens, it's a wake-up call for us here in america that we need to be prepared. now, the exact scenario that we saw happen here in japan could happen, actually in the pacific northwest, because we know it did happen. brian atwater, who's a specialist at the u.s. geological survey has looked back into the geologic record and seen evidence that on the 26th of january, at 9:00 p.m.
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in the jeer 1700 there was an earthquake that generated a tsunami in the cascadeius subduction zone offshore oregon that generated a tsunami that was historically recorded in japan. and it was the same magnitude as this event. it happened then. it could happen again. >> james, this was almost 300 years ago that this event took place. we're told that the earthquake in japan is a once in 100 year type of event. so what's the time frame that we may be able to see something like this unfold in the united states? >> the time frame of these things can be very hard to predict, because they do vary. the geologic record clearly shows that they vary over time so putting a precise number on it is very difficult. but you can look at the relative rates of the motion across these kinds of large faults and try to make an estimate of how much time it will take to accumulate the kind of stress that's going to produce a big earthquake like
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this. in the pacific northwest, it's certainly a longer time window for the repeating of these kinds of events than it is in japan. it's probably more in the order of 300 to 500 years. >> dr. mcnutt, despite the fact that the science shows us this could be 300 to 500 years down the road realistically speaking, are the places that could be impacted here in the united states prepared for an event like this? >> well i think that like japan, for decades, we have been using building codes that are up to date. and so, like japan, i think happily we can say that modern building codes should withstand strong shaking, and strong earthquakes. but, sadly, i think what this event in japan has shown us is that something like a wall of water that is six feet high running six miles inland or
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even higher is something that we are equally unprepared for. and that many of the same kinds of preparedness that we're talking about in terms of hardening our communities to floods and to sea level rise might be the very same things we should think about accelerating in terms of preparing ourselves for tsunamis. >> dr. garrity, what areas of the united states are most susceptible to this? >> so i mean the most obvious place is the pacific northwest, the coast of washington and oregon. and i think one of the real interesting lessons that for me that i think is starting to come out of this earthquake in japan is that the education of the local citizens that these kinds of events happen and how to behave when you feel strong shaking, we don't -- the fault in the pacific northwest was a little bit different in that we don't generate even smaller events as often as they do in
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japan. so i think the population there is a really important public education effort that needs to be made to make sure the population there knows how to respond when these kind of events occur. because it sounds like there was significant saving of life believe it or not, in many parts of the most devastated region because people got into high buildings, were able to get out of the way of the water. >> such a good point. thank you so much to both of you for joining us today. we sincerely appreciate your time. we'll be right back. this is "the early show" on cbs. [ male announcer ] every day thousands of people are switching from tylenol® to advil®. here's one story. my name is tanya and i am from chicago. i'm a mom of 3 daughters. pan can really put a kink in my day and i turn into grouchy mommy. i used to take tylenol and now i take advil and i like it. it's fast and it's reliable. my family needs me and i need to be there for my family. [ male announcer ] make the switch. take action. take advil®. inside the 2011 dodge journey is an 8.4-inch touch screen
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we are continuing to get updates as to the devastation, the impact of the quake in japan. as of now, 574 people have been pronounced dead. 586 are missing. >> also, 1105 have been injured and local media in japan is estimating that some 1300 people, the death toll will reach 1300 by the time that this is all over. stay with cbs news for continuing coverage of the earthquake in japan throughout the weekend. and on cbsnews.com. incredible images from there. lots of stories of survival.
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lots of things to come. lots of things still up in the air. >> hopefully some good news. >> we're going to leave you this morning with images of the earthquake and
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